Catfish: When the role you applied for suddenly looks nothing like it did online
Catfish – the term made popular in the context of online dating has, like all strange modern phenomena, made its way into the world of recruitment, with many candidates being “lured into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona”. Causing candidates to apply and go into recruitment processes, only to learn along the way that the role they’re interviewing for does not actually match the job description they applied for.
Let’s be clear, it’s unlikely that companies are actually doing this with ill intentions as a means to mislead candidates into applying for jobs they wouldn’t actually want. The most common scenario we see is when a company changes the brief as they gradually realise what it is they actually want. The challenge, however, is that this can often happen after candidates are in the mix (those that applied off a different, OG brief), leaving the hopeful applicants feeling frustrated and confused.
Getting caught up in a catfish is annoying, there are no two ways about it, but this is life; businesses are made up of people, and we are all guilty of discovering what we want as we go, rather than from the get-go. It doesn’t all have to be bad. In fact, there could be opportunities to explore in this situation.
Here’s are some suggestions on how to handle getting caught up with a catfish:
Consider this catfish a learning opportunity
Often the evolution of the brief can include some new skills that weren’t originally listed. If you’d known they wanted skills you didn’t have, you wouldn’t have applied, right? Well, obviously, but you’re in the mix now so why not look at this as an opportunity. If it’s a job you want and a skill set that you would like to develop, take advantage of being in the room, able to sell yourself, and suggest that you would like the opportunity to learn.
Challenge the JD
Think outside of the box that is the job brief and consider if there is a chance you could still be qualified for the role. If you have the opportunity, learn what they really need in the business — not just what they wrote on the JD — and see if you have the experience to fulfill their needs.
Explore alternative options
Chances are, if a company has brought you into a process and then changed the brief on you, they’re going to feel pretty bad about wasting your time and should be rather warm while making their apologies. Take advantage of this dynamic to politely dig and ask if there are any other opportunities within the team or broader company that they could recommend you for.
Be thankful you found out
Of course in some cases, the changing of the role is not going to work out in your favour. All you can do in this case is to approach the annoyance with a positive attitude. Fortunately, you found out before you got the job, rather than when you’re in there and began to feel a sense of underachievement because they were demanding unexpected things of you.
Although this doesn’t happen often, we can take the burden off you and act as your personal agent; poking, prodding and questioning on your behalf. Call Launch Recruitment today to speak to our skilled team about your next career move.